National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), the largest Kuwaiti bank and the highest-rated in the Middle East, announced net profits of USD 218 million (KD 63.5 million) during the first three months of 2009.
NBK reported a 10% increase in operating income for the first quarter from USD 460 million to USD 507 million, reflecting impressive growth in the Bank’s core activities.
The profit figure reflects the Bank’s prudent and voluntary decision to make additional general provisions as a precautionary measure against any protracted impact of the global financial crisis on the local economy.
Ibrahim S. Dabdoub, NBK’s Group Chief Executive Officer, commented on the Group’s result saying “growth in our operating income is a testament to the robustness of our business model. It is a product of our fundamental strengths, strategy, and discipline in managing risks. Our solid franchise and diversified revenue sources position us to maintain our leadership position in Kuwait and bolster our standing regionally and internationally. It is no surprise that we were voted among the World’s 50 Safest Banks in 2009.”
The Bank's performance remains solid and impressive given the challenging environment for financial and non-financial institutions worldwide. Return on average assets (ROAA) was 2.15%, with return on average equity (ROAE) at 17.9%. NBK's total assets reached USD 41.3 billion (KD 12 billion) at the end of March 2009, whilst shareholder equity stood at USD 5.2 billion (KD 1.5 billion).
Last year, NBK’s long-term credit rating was upgraded by FitchRatings to AA- from A+, a reflection of the Bank’s strong financial position, solid and sustainable growth as well as the success of its regional expansion strategy. This further consolidated the strong reputation NBK has enjoyed over the years, having been consistently awarded the highest credit rating of all banks in the region from Moody's, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch. The Bank’s rating is supported by its high capitalization, prudent lending policies and its disciplined approach to risk management, in addition to the recognized excellence of its very stable management.
Today NBK enjoys the largest presence in Kuwait with 69 branches, as well as a growing regional and international network comprising an additional 86 branches covering 16 countries in both the MENA region and world financial centers including London, Paris, New York and Singapore, as well as in China and Vietnam. The newly acquired presence in Egypt, Turkey and Dubai follows on the heels of NBK’s entry into Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Iraq. Together with an established presence in Bahrain and Lebanon, these new markets position NBK as a leading regional player.